Will Donald Trump be inaugurated on March 4, 2021? No, that's not true: The "five pieces of evidence" held up to support such a claim have been debunked before or are speculative, assigning significance to otherwise neutral facts. Joe Biden is president of the United States, has been since January 20, 2021, and all publicly available evidence confirms that he will continue to be after March 4 for the duration of his term.
The claim appeared in a YouTube video (archived here) published on February 24, 2021. The post was titled "TRUMP'S INAUGURATION IS ON MARCH 4TH!?! (And BIG PROOF That Trump Controls The Military!!!) Ep. 27". The host, identified as Peter Hanna, says at the start:
I am very excited to share with all of you five pieces of evidence that seem to be pointing to Trump being inaugurated and becoming president next month in March, specifically March 4.
Click below to watch the video on YouTube:
We'll consider the five purported pieces of evidence Hanna offers in the order they were discussed.
#1: Trump controls the military until March 20, 2021.
Lead Stories has previously debunked this claim, which is based on an erroneous overstatement of the terms of the "Presidential Transition Enhancement Act of 2019." That bill arranges temporary office space and staff briefings but says nothing about a former president retaining control of the military once he or she leaves office, which would be unconstitutional. At the time of writing, Biden is commander in chief, a position he assumed when he was sworn in as president of the United States on January 20, 2021. See our previous reporting on the claim here.
#2: When the United States is a country, not a corporation, Inauguration Day is March 4.
As support for this claim, Hanna showed a page from the Library of Congress. You can see that page here. It explains that until 1933, the official day for presidential inaugurations was March 4. Hanna took that neutral fact and ran with it, saying:
In other words, when the United States was a country, the inauguration date was March 4. When the United States was switched from a country to a corporation, the Inauguration Day was changed to January 20. Now, since a lot of us believe, that Trump switched -- as I showed in my previous video, there's evidence of it -- Trump switched the United States from being a corporation back to a country, the official inauguration should be March 4.
This interpretation is based on a conspiracy theory that finds secret meaning in an 1871 law and mangles the meaning of "incorporation" in municipal and government law to support the belief that the United States is or was a corporation rather than a country, a claim that Lead Stories has debunked before. Believers say Ulysses S. Grant was the last genuine president and that they are exempt from U.S. law. See our reporting here and here. In a February 17, 2021, phone interview, University of Washington Law School constitutional law professor Jeff Feldman told Lead Stories that "incorporation" has distinct definitions that clearly mean different things for for-profit companies, incorporated non-profit organizations and for incorporated governments. The United States is not a corporation like General Motors.
#3: The presence of National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., may signal an inauguration.
As proof for this claim, Hanna showed a local news report, which said that National Guard troops brought in after the January 6, 2021, assault on Congress are expected to leave the U.S. Capitol by March 12. You can read that February 20, 2021 WUSA report here. Hanna said:
The National Guards are expected to leave the Capitol on March 12. Now, we were told that the National Guards are staying for the inauguration. Could it be that they're not just staying for Biden's inauguration, but they're also staying for Trump's inauguration?
His question is speculative and provides no evidence that the continued presence of National Guard members means there will be another inauguration. In fact, WUSA reported the real reason behind their continued presence, which is the ongoing threat from conspiracy theorists. The article read:
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the National Guard is continuing its security mission because of lingering threats from QAnon conspiracy adherents. Online chatter from the extremist group supports the false notion that former President Donald Trump could still be inaugurated on March 4.
U.S. Capitol Police have similarly warned of possible threats around March 4. In a tweet, the agency said that it was boosting its staffing in a bid, no doubt, to prevent a repeat of January 6, 2021, when rioters stormed the Capitol and overwhelmed police, sacking congressional offices, injuring hundreds of officers in violence that resulted in the shooting death of a rioter and the death of a police officer.
As part of this claim, Hanna also alleged that Biden is not in Washington, D.C., but in "a fake studio set used for movies." Lead Stories has debunked this claim before, too, which rests on obvious misinterpretation of well-documented doors and other details seen in photos of the Oval Office for decades. See our reporting here.
#4: Higher prices at Trump's hotel in Washington, D.C., could mean he will be inaugurated on March 4.
Again, Hanna pointed to a news article as support for his claim. In this case, the headline of the Insider article, "Trump's DC hotel is hiking prices for March 4, the day QAnon followers think the former president will be sworn in", undermined the point he was trying to make as the article casts doubt on QAnon claims, dismissing them as conspiracy theories. Prices at the Trump International Hotel for March 4 may well be higher, but that doesn't prove the former president will be inaugurated; it can just as easily support a claim that Trump International is raising its prices to profit from QAnon believers flocking to Washington.
#5: A message from Q points to Trump's inauguration and the coming "Storm."
Followers of QAnon believe that Trump is fighting an evil cabal of Democratic pedophiles and elites who, with impunity, imprison children, abuse them and harvest their adrenal gland secretions, drinking it to achieve immortality. QAnon believers speak of something called "the Storm," a moment when Trump will supposedly expose the cabal and punish those involved.
As his fifth and final piece of purported evidence, Hanna referenced a discussion of a Q drop, which are the cryptic messages at the core of the QAnon conspiracy theory. The message, which appeared online as far back as 2018, read:
Suicide weekend? Hands up? [0:28] Impossible? Coincidence? We are in Control. BIG week ahead. Q
Citing a user on a discussion forum, Hanna explained that the 30 could represent the number of months from the date the message was posted and that the questions, "Suicide weekend? Hands up?" may indicate that there could be arrests and that some people would "rather do themselves in" than face that.
There is no evidence to support the interpretation, nor claims that "Q" will this time be right after multiple QAnon prophecies failed to come true. Hanna's claim is conjecture based on an anonymous and years-old post.
Biden is president of the United States, and all publicly available evidence confirms that he will continue to be after March 4. Under the Constitution, his term is four years.